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Oh My Stars [Paperback]

Lorna Landvik
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
RRP: 6.99
Price: 6.73 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

1 Feb 2006

Tall, slender Violet Mathers is growing up in the Great Depression, which could just as well define her state of mind. Abandoned by her mother as a child, mistreated by her father, and teased by her schoolmates, the lonely girl finds solace in artistic pursuits. It's only when she's hired by the town's sole feminist to work the night shift in the local factory that Violet comes into her name and blooms. Accepted by her co-workers, the teenager enters the happiest phase of her life, until a terrible accident causes her to retreat once again into her lonely shell.

Realising that she has only one choice, Violet boards a bus heading west to California. But when the bus crashes in North Dakota, it seems that fate is having another cruel laugh at Violet's expense. This time, though, Violet laughs back. She and her fellow passengers are rescued by two men: Austin Sykes, who Violet is certain is the blackest man ever to set foot on the North Dakota prairie, and Kjel Hedstrom, who inspires feelings Violet has never before felt. Kjel and Austin are musicians whose sound is like no other, and with pluck, verve and wit, Violet becomes part of their quest to make a new kind of music together.

OH, MY STARS is Lorna Landvik's most ambitious novel yet, with a cast of characters whose travails and triumphs you'll long remember. It is a tale of love and hope, bigotry and betrayal, loss and discovery - as Violet, who's always considered herself a minor character in her own life story, emerges as a heroine you'll laugh with, cry with and, most important, cheer for all the way.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (1 Feb 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553817590
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553817591
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,153,506 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Book Description

A warm and compelling novel from the NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author of ANGRY HOUSEWIVES EATING BON BONS

From the Publisher

A warm and compelling novel from the NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author of ANGRY HOUSEWIVES EATING BON BONS

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars the best lorna landvik 24 April 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
this one stayed with me for ages after, the main character is a really different kind of main character- an intelligent romance which investigates the many sides of racism and disablism.
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Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  61 reviews
30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another wonderful story by Lorna Landvik 7 May 2005
By Ratmammy - Published on Amazon.com
OH MY STARS by Lorna Landvik

May 6, 2005

I've read only a few books by Lorna Landvik so far, but I already look forward to each new book she writes. Her latest, OH MY STARS, was quite different from PATTY JANE'S HOUSE OF CURL and her more recent ANGRY HOUSEWIVES EATING BON BONS, but I think this latest book is one that I'll remember for a long time.

Violet Mathers starts out in life feeling unloved and unwanted. She's too tall, too plain, and then after she loses an arm to a horrific accident in the sewing factory where she works (she is only sixteen years old at the time), she soon feels that her life is not worth living. At the age of 18, she leaves her father (her mother had left them years ago for another man), gets on a bus bound for San Francisco, hoping to be the second person to end their life by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge.

What can only be fate happens during this bus trip. The bus ends up in an accident, and because they are stranded somewhere in North Dakota, she ends up being rescued by a very handsome young man named Kjel, and his good friend Austin, and they bring her home. This is the turning point of her so far miserable life, and her life is now on the upswing.

A good part of this book entails their travels as a musical band they call THE PEARLTONES, and Kjel becomes something of an Elvis-like music idol. The time period is the late 1930's, so rock n' roll has not yet been invented, color lines have not been crossed, and so their musical world is a bit different than what we know today. They encounter racism during their travels, as Austin and his brother Dallas are black, but Kjel doesn't see color, and while Violet was brought up to believe that blacks and whites should be segregated, she learns something new through her friendships with Kjel and Austin.

I really loved this book. I do have to admit that there were times when I felt the book could have been edited differently, but by the end of the book, I had a feeling that this was a story I would not forget easily. I am glad I read it and am looking forward to more by Lorna Landvik. This may have been her best book yet. Violet's early life was depressing, however, and some may not enjoy reading about her early years, but I saw this story as an uplifting type of novel, where even the almost impossibly sad lives can turn around if surrounded by people that care about them.

Violet narrates: "Who'd have ever thought a shunned, husky-voiced, one armed, big-chinned girl with a hive of bees in her head could live a life so full of miracles?"

I think that summed up the book quite nicely.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lovely Little Period Piece 19 April 2005
By TundraVision - Published on Amazon.com
While not roller in the hair funny like her Patty Jane's House of Curl, or as witty as Angry Housewives Eating Bon-bons, still, ja, sure, Minnesota author Lorna Landvik's newest foray into the foibles of the US NorthLand is a fun and graceful frolick. This time, we're in and out of North Dakota and on a road trip with a band in the 1930's. The travelling band features a pre-Elvis, Preslian precursor Norwegian/American Lutheran Boy Named Kjel (pronounced in the Norwegian way as "Shell" just as their native son Kjierkegaard is pronounce "Chicago" <-accent on the first syllable)and includes 2 black brothers and a 1 armed girl/manager.

Told alternately in the first "old ladies are the ghosts-boo!-of American culture;only a few people actually see us" and third person, the story wends its way from the old Kentucky home to North Dakota through the segregated South and back to a Garrison Keillor-esque North Dakota. Landvik's latest is a fresh brisk breath of North Dakota air. /TundraVision, Amazon Reviewer
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Quirky, Pleasing but Lacking.... 4 Jun 2006
By W. Zollo - Published on Amazon.com
It's the Depression; Violet Mathers is 18 years old, creatively accomplished, a cacophony of ugliness, the product of an absent mother and a cruel father and the casualty of a factory accident that robs her of her talents and sets her on a suicide mission to the Golden Gate Bridge. As chance (or fate, luck or doom?) would have it, the bus she is traveling on crashes in a small North Dakota town. Here Violet meets the men who will change her life, musicians, Kjel Hedstrom and his 'black as night' friend Austin Skyes. In love with Kjel, repulsed by Austin and eventually annoyed by Dallas (Austin's ex-con brother), Violet joins the threesome as they travel across America on a tuneful, almost Elvis-like adventure of self-discovery and social issues.

The self-discovery is nicely done. It's quite easy to become drawn into Violet's world thanks to Landvik's brillant humor and empathy.

The quartet of characters, though not deep, is fun and pleasing and easy to care about.

Landvik ultimately loses her reality when dealing with the social issues of a distinctly black/white 1930s America. They are never fully addressed or even worse, developed into the sticky situations and considerable quandaries they were. An encounter with the KKK is woefully short and flawed with no ensuing aftermath or logical social ramifications for the times. I sensed as if the author was floating through the period and was apprehensive about taking on racial matters and losing the cloudy, lighthearted, atmoshphere on which much of the novel rests.

While this is a pleasurable read, nonetheless, historically, it lacks a significant punch to give it the real impact it could so easily have had.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How could you not love it? 30 July 2005
By Dkneesie - Published on Amazon.com
I am a big fan or Lorna Landvik, and was not at all dissapointed in this book. There are so many things that I loved in this book. I loved that the characters went from rock bottom, to top of their own worlds and back down again but make it out ok. And I realy liked that the ending wasn't what you thought it would. A great read!

The books main character was a lame dog at first, one arm, no self esteem, and her only goal in life is to be the 2nd person to jump of the Golden Gate Bridge. You want to take her in and fix all her woes. But then she meets the two people who will change all that.

This is a great story that will stay with you. It is very dramitic with powerfull race issues that remind you how far we have and have not come over the years.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very enjoyable 22 Jan 2007
By Cathe Fein Olson - Published on Amazon.com
Don't be put off by the corny title of this book (for me, it gives the impression of a sappy romance) - this book is great. I was pulled in right from the beginning and could not put this book down.

I loved Violet's character and enjoyed seeing her transformation. I loved the other characters as well - the band members, Elwin, the Clamshells, etc. My only (very slight) criticism is that the book got a tad slow for me at the very end but not enough that I wanted to stop reading it.

This is definitely one I will be recommending to my friends and to my reading group.
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